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This section provides the highlights of the methodology adopted for each survey. More details are provided in Appendix B.
4.1 Survey of Visitors to Museums
Ideally, this study would have covered every museum in Canada; however, the survey population was restricted to CHIN member museums that were open in both and . Information from a total of 991 museums was extracted from the CHIN member database. Statistics Canada aimed to select a total of 80 museums and conduct a total of 5000 interviews. Museums were divided by region (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and the West) and size (small, medium and large, based on the number of employees), creating 12 strata. The total sample was then allocated to each stratum. Sixty museums agreed to participate in the survey.
Each participating museum conducted exit interviews, using systematic sampling, during two two-week periods: from to and from to . Two days were randomly selected from each survey week and a two-hour period was randomly chosen for each of those days (for a total of 16 hours of interviewing per museum). The questionnaire used for the interviews is provided in Appendix C.
The goal was to receive 40 completed interviews from small museums and 80 from medium and large museums. This target was not always achieved, mainly because the actual number of visitors was lower than expected during some survey periods and because some museums missed one or more days of collection. In the end, 2258 interviews were completed. The completed questionnaires were returned to CHIN, which was in charge of the data capture. The Statistical Consultation Group (SCG) was in charge of processing the data and preparing a summary report.
A survey weight was associated with each completed interview to account for the multiple stages in the sampling process, thus allowing the sample results to be extended to the whole population. This survey weight accounted for the selection of museums in each stratum, the selection of days from each week, the selection of hours from each day and the selection of visitors in each time period. The survey weights also took into account the non-response at each stage of the survey. The detailed survey results are provided in Appendix A for each question. Two quantities are provided: the total number of visitors in the category and the proportion of visitors with that characteristic. For example, looking at Question 1, an estimated total of 613,234 visitors to museums during the survey period were internet users. They make up 81% of all the visitors in the period. Because of the sampling design used, estimated proportions are considered more stable than estimated volumes.
Estimates of sampling variability, obtained using the bootstrap method, are provided with the data in Appendix A. In each table, the margin of error of a 95% confidence interval is provided for the largest estimate from each row. For example, looking at Question 11, 53% of visitors to small museums said they visit museums a few times a year. The margin of error (provided on the left, with the row title) for this estimate is +/- 7%. For more information on sampling variability, see section 1.6 of Appendix B.
4.2 Survey of Visitors to Museums' Web Space
For this survey, one fixed link was placed on the Virtual Museum of Canada website and one or more links were placed on the web space of various Canadian museums. A total of 35 museums participated in the survey. Visitors to those sites had the option to participate in the survey by clicking on the link. The survey was online from mid-July to mid-September. A total of 567 respondents participated in the survey (57 from the one link on the VMC site and 510 from various museums' pages).
Although it is known that voluntary, self-selected surveys do not necessarily yield results that are representative of the overall population (in this case, the whole population of visitors to the VMC and to museums' sites), it was the only possible option in this case. The survey results are only representative of the opinions and behaviors of the sampled individuals but should still provide valuable insights as to what people expect when they visit those sites. The questionnaire used to conduct the survey is provided in Appendix C. The sample results are presented in the next section, with no attempt to generalize those results to a broader population.
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This resource was published by the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN). For comments or questions regarding this content, please contact CHIN directly. To find other online resources for museum professionals, visit the CHIN homepage or the Museology and conservation topic page on Canada.ca.
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